By David Fong
TROY — When the Troy football team takes on Reynoldsburg today in its first official scrimmage of the season, the Trojans will get an up-close look at no less than three future Division I college football players.
That’s a trend that will continue into next week’s scrimmage against Dunbar and on through the regular season for the Trojans.
“We’ll see quite a few good football players this year,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “That’s a good thing. The competition will only make us better.”
Reynoldsburg features tone player already committed to a Division I college football program and two more ranked by the recruiting service rivals.com as future DI college players.
Elijah Ratliff, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle already has committed to play football at Marshall University next fall.
Junior Mershawn Rice is listed as a four-star “athlete” by Rivals, which also has him as the No. 25 players in the nation at his position and the 238th overall player in the country. He already has offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Toledo.
Junior linebacker Dezman Cooper is a three-star linebacker and ranked by Rivals as the No. 24 junior in the nation at his position.
Next week, Troy plays its final preseason scrimmage against Dunbar, which features a pair of future college players in running back Tavion Thomas and wide receiver Joseph Scates. Thomas, a three-star prospect, has committed to Oklahoma over offers from schools such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas.
Scates, a four-star prospect, is the No. 20 wide receiver in his class, the No. 4 senior in Ohio and the 111th overall prospect in the nation, according to Rivals. With more than two dozen offers, he recently trimmed his list of future colleges to Alabama and West Virginia.
The future college players just keep coming during the regular season.
In the first week of the season, the Trojans will face Trotwood-Madison running back Raveion Hargrove, a three-star prospect who already has committed to Bowling Green State University.
In Week 2, Troy faces off against Xenia wide receiver Meechi Harris, a three-star prospect with offers from a number of Big Ten and Mid-American Conference schools, in addition to West Virginia, Cincinnati and Kentucky.
Miamisburg lost a pair of Division I college offensive lineman off last year’s team, but it does return wide receiver Tyler Johnson, who has an offer to play football at Navy. Troy takes on Miamisburg in Week 5.
In Week 8, Troy will play Sidney, which features two players already committed to Division I programs — and another who could possibly play at the Division I level in either football or basketball. Three-star running back Isaiah Bowser has given a verbal commitment to Northwestern University, while three-star defensive tackle Devan Rogers has committed to Toledo.
Junior quarterback Andre Gordon is a curious case. He has an offer to play football from Iowa State, but after missing essentially all of last season with a broken wrist, he could rocket up many colleges’ recruiting boards with a big season this year. He’s also a top-flight basketball prospect who is being looked at by a number of Division I programs.
Piqua linebacker/running back Ben Schmiesing and defensive end Derek Hite both have received offers from Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA) schools, but could see their stock rise with big senior seasons.
Troy, meanwhile, isn’t without potential Division I college players. Junior tight end Spencer Klopfenstein and junior defensive back Sam Jackson have yet to receive official offers from any Division I programs, but both have been on numerous college visits to schools such as Michigan State, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong